OPPONENTS OF a €350 million redevelopment plan for RTÉ’s Donnybrook headquarters were mistaken in their belief the project would create an “unmitigated and uninterrupted annoyance and disturbance over 10 years”, a planning inquiry has heard.
A number of residents and property owners in the vicinity of the RTÉ campus, including the German embassy and financier Dermot Desmond, have objected to RTÉ’s plans, claiming they fail to take into account the level of disturbance and interference with their homes, a number of which are protected structures.
In a written submission to the board, Mr Desmond said RTÉ’s plans were likely to have “serious impacts” on adjoining properties “many of which comprise embassies, protected structures and sensitive properties”.
Mr Desmond argued there would be a “very significant” impact on his own house on Ailesbury Road, which was a protected structure. He said his house – and he cited Supreme Court case law which he said had shown such protection included the setting and context of protected structures – should have been addressed in the planning application.
Mr Desmond argued that as an occupier he was also entitled to the lawful protection of his amenities. He also pointed to the removal of a garden wall at Mount Errol house on the RTÉ site which is owned by the authority. Again he contended that the wall should be considered as part of the setting and context of Mount Errol as the house was a protected structure.
However, a conservation architect for RTÉ, David Slattery, said Mr Desmond’s comments on the garden wall could not be supported. “The walled garden no longer exists. The formal garden has been lost. The only remaining structure is a free-standing rubble stone wall which cannot be said to add to the setting of Mount Errol.”
In relation to Ailesbury Road houses, he said these were different types of detached residences set well back from the road, which were considered to be of architectural significance. But he said there was only one house visible from the site – number 87, Mr Desmond’s – while the remainder of the road was masked by trees.
He said there were no significant views or vistas from these houses and on the latest Ordnance Survey map a tennis court was indicated at number 87.
“If you take the historic curtilage of Ailesbury Road, this addition of the tennis court is not historically part of the curtilage of the house,” he said.
Chris Gogarty for Seamus Monahan and Partners, which is providing project management services to RTÉ, said fears of an unmitigated and uninterrupted annoyance and disturbance over 10 years were wide of the mark.
Mr Gogarty said the plan was delivered with careful phasing in mind because of economic circumstances, because of the need for continued use of facilities by RTÉ and because of concern for RTÉ’s neighbours. But he said it was worth remembering that RTÉ was a broadcast facility where live transmission took place. In that respect, the noise and vibration were incompatible with the client’s business, let alone the neighbour’s amenities.